Ahead of Budget 2020, Care England has called for social care to be at the heart of the new government.
The call by the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said earlier this week that it could take five years to form a social care rescue plan.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said: “The Prime Minister has been vocal in his support for finding a long term sustainable solution for adult social care. Care England is keen to help breach the necessary consensus to pave the way for such essential action.
“The first step is the recognition that social care is intrinsically linked with the NHS; the main input in the delivery of adult social care services is labour yet the failure of successive governments to fund appropriately the increases to the National Living Wage has impinged upon social care providers’ ability to reward their most valuable resource; the workforce.”
Care England highlighted the unique challenges facing the sector, which employs around 1.6m people, where staff costs average around half total running costs and increases in the National Living Wage, though welcome, have exacerbated its workforce crisis, and where a growing proportion of the workforce are paid at, or around, minimum wage level.
Martin added: “We need to have parity of esteem between the NHS and social care. In terms of workforce this means better pay. The latest NHS pay deal entitled ‘Agenda For Change’ only serves to further emphasise the lack of parity in the funds allocated the health and social care sectors respectively. Social care providers simply do not have the funding to match such increases given the chronic underfunding which persists in the sector. Good and fair wages remain a lynchpin in the future sustainability of the adult social care sector. It is incumbent upon Government to ensure that such increases in the National Minimum and Living Wage are reflected in the fees paid to care providers who are supporting some of society’s most vulnerable people.”